Welcome to my little corner of the gay erotic romance universe . . . well, half of it, anyway. (You can find the other half at RachelHaimowitz.com.) This is the place to come for sneak previews of new projects, release information, and the occasional M/M book review. I'll also share thoughts on the industry on occasion, and I hope you'll come share yours in return.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Book Review: Captive, by Scarlet Blackwell, 2 of 5 Stars

Alas, this blog post should probably be titled "How NOT to Write a Capture Fantasy."

Let's start with the cover (aww, pretty boy in handcuffs, although I find it a little creepy that he's supposed to be old enough to have written six books and instead looks barely legal at best) and a blurb:

On the outs with his lover, author Gabriel Black retreats to work on a new book at his Alaskan hideaway, where he expects peace and quiet... instead Gabriel gets shock and surprise when an intruder breaks in and takes him hostage. His captor, Ethan, is far too handsome for Gabriel's own good, and Gabriel decides that the best way to get free is to seduce his captor. The question is: Will he enjoy it too much to want to escape if Ethan gives in?

(89 pages, Dreamspinner Press.)

So, I should have known right from the blurb that this book was going to be a disaster. I've never been a fan of those Victorian-era porn stories where the woman is abducted and raped by some barbarian chieftan and discovers ZOMG she lurves it and wants to spend forever and ever with the man. This sounded an awful lot like that, but for $2 and the potential for a good capture fantasy, I couldn't resist.

Unfortunately, I think I spent this entire book rolling my eyes. The writing was solid on the sentence level but a train wreck everywhere else. One protagonist was TSTL (Gabriel), and the only reason he did live was because the other protagonist, Ethan--the one with the gun who Gabriel insisted on alternately antagonizing and fantasizing over despite the fact that Ethan broke into his house, cuffed him, called him a fag, threatened to kill him repeatedly, even pistol whipped and beat him--had roller-coaster sized mood swings that came out of nowhere and lacked any clear motivation.

The whole thing read like a bad porn fantasy--you know, the kind where you answer the doorbell to discover that the pizza guy isn't wearing any pants, except this time with capture and abuse. Now, as you all know, I'm as prone to fantasize over capture and abuse as the next gal, but I need organics; I want the characters to act like sane people with motivations that make sense, rather than do what the author tells them to because the author requires a certain behavior to drive the story.

Even worse than all of that, at the end [highlight to read the spoiler, or don't squint too close if you don't want to read it because I can't find the exact color as the background to make it truly invisible] ZOMG IT WAS ALL JUST A DREAM!, of course, and we should have seen that coming because it was the only way that the prior 9/10ths of the novel made even the remotest smidge of sense.

I got this with a 50% off coupon code at Fictionwise.com ("probowl2011" good til the end of the month), so for $2 I don't particularly consider it time or money wasted (see above re: my love of capture fantasies), but it really was just not at all well done on a structural, plot, or character level and I don't think I could in good conscience recommend this to anyone.


  1. Agreed - this was a disappointment. It's too bad this was my first introduction to this author's work, because I've since read some of her other stuff and enjoyed it - but it took my awhile to pick up another book of hers after this one...

  2. What would you suggest for other books from her? It's clear the author can craft a sentence, but as a friend of mine said, just because you can lay a brick doesn't mean you can build a house. That said, she lays a nice brick, so I'd be willing to give her another chance.

  3. Just Desserts was good. Rescue Me was REALLY good.

  4. Thanks for the recs, dear. I've added Rescue Me to my TBR :)


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